God and Mammon

Within the guarded privacy of the Vatican, there are no better kept secrets than those concerning the workings of the Holy See's bank, the Institute per le Opere di Religione (Institute for Religious Works). In a church that is nearly 2,000 years old, the Vatican bank is a relative newcomer. Its main holdings go back to 1929, when the Italian government under Benito Mussolini paid $83 million to the Holy See as compensation for the loss of papal territory seized from the church in 1870 by the Italian republic. Much of that money was eventually invested in real estate and Italian...

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